Socialist Worker


Postal workers

04 October 2003
AROUND 250 CWU union divisional, area and branch reps met last Saturday at an official meeting to discuss the recent pay ballot, management attacks and the way forward for the union. The meeting was much more positive than anyone might have expected a week before.

Oxford action ends in victory for our side

04 October 2003
UNOFFICIAL AND illegal action by hundreds of Oxford postal workers has won a landmark victory. An Oxford CWU member told Socialist Worker, "We feel ten feet tall. We were in a big battle and the rank and file and our reps did not blink. We pushed them back and have given an example for postal workers everywhere."

Bitter battle heats up as 400 walk out

27 September 2003
ON FRIDAY of last week over 400 postal workers in Oxford's mail centre walked out unofficially on strike. An Oxford CWU union rep told Socialist Worker, "Union headquarters sent out an excellent circular detailing the attacks from the top of Royal Mail. Our reps wanted to distribute it to the members.

A swing to the left, now it's time to act

20 September 2003
"HORRIBLE" was how one of New Labour's staunchest supporters in the trade union movement described last week's Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Brighton. The vast majority of delegates, the seven million workers they represent and millions of others felt differently. "You get a feeling that, at last, slowly the anger and concerns of working people are finally getting a hearing at the top of the unions," says TUC delegate Jane Loftus, a member of the national executive of the postal workers' CWU union. The conference put clear red water between the trade unions and New Labour.

Union leaders-'join this demonstration'

13 September 2003
"WE WANT as many CWU members on the demonstration as possible. We don't need more British troops sent to Iraq. We need more Iraqis running their own country." Billy Hayes, general secretary of the postal workers' CWU union

Prepare for crown duel

23 August 2003
WORKERS AT Peckham Crown Post Office and Camberwell Green Crown Post Offices in south London have launched campaigns to stop their offices being privatised and downgraded. The 30 people employed in the two offices have over 300 years experience serving the community. CWU union assistant sectional secretary Steve Whale said, "We were only informed of the privatisation when the press rang our union room for our comments."

Pressure from below forces vote

09 August 2003
POSTAL WORKERS across Britain will start voting in a strike ballot over pay in two weeks time. At the same time a separate ballot begins in the capital over London weighting. The Communication Workers Union (CWU) postal executive voted to call the ballots last week. Their decision is the result of huge pressure from below. Postal workers are fed up with grafting harder and harder for a pathetically small pay packet and they have told their union they want action.

Postal workers

26 July 2003
LEADERS OF the CWU union have postponed a decision on whether to call strike ballots over the national pay offer and London weighting. But the issue will not go away.

Key decision on battles ahead in Post Office

19 July 2003
LEADERS OF the Communication Workers Union (CWU) faced a key test this week. On Tuesday the union's postal executive was to vote on its response to demands for a strike ballot over London weighting. A press report in advance of the meeting suggested that the union's national leaders were opposed to a ballot because the annual pay negotiations with Royal Mail were "only just beginning".

Key union leader says Labour has surrendered to the fat cats

05 July 2003
TONY WOODLEY, the newly elected general secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU), laid into New Labour at the union's conference in Brighton this week. He accused the government of surrendering to big business. He made a devastating criticism of Alan Johnson, former leader of the CWU union, who is now a New Labour minister.

Local unity can beat back the BNP Nazis

28 June 2003
"UNIONS HAVE been mobilising and we expect good delegations from the postal workers' CWU and firefighters' FBU," says Matt Saywell. He is a member of Broxbourne Against Racism, which is mobilising for Saturday's march in the Hertfordshire town where the BNP has one councillor. "The GMB London Region is also supporting the march, as are local churches," says Matt. "We've had a really good response from local people."

The political ferment has reached everyone

14 June 2003
THIS YEAR'S conference of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) was the most political ever. There is sometimes a sense in the union that the "big politics" discussions are the preserve of relatively few activists and that the rest do not really get engaged until the nitty-gritty discussions about pay, jobs and hours. If that were ever true, it certainly wasn't this year.

CWU union slams Blair's war and backs Galloway

07 June 2003
OPPOSITION TO the war in Iraq goes deep into the union movement. The tone was set this week at the CWU union conference for postal and telecoms workers in Bournemouth. In his opening address general secretary Billy Hayes said, "We can't buy into Bush's plans for the world.

Showing signs of bitterness

07 June 2003
IN EVERY debate at last week's CWU conference there was anger about various aspects of New Labour policies. This wasn't just shown over the war on Iraq (see here). CWU delegates condemned New Labour for their treatment of the firefighters during their recent pay dispute.

Vote shows desire for a fighting union

31 May 2003
TONY BLAIR'S candidate for a top position in the postal workers' CWU union was soundly defeated last week. John Keggie, a member of Labour's national executive, was defeated by Dave Ward for the post of deputy general secretary (postal). This is the position which Keggie presently holds. Keggie took 16,814 votes - Ward won 19,404.

Postal workers

24 May 2003
POSTAL WORKERS in London are continuing their pay campaign although the prospect of unofficial action is unlikely in the short term. London branch secretaries and reps met the CWU union's general secretary, Billy Hayes, last week.

Turn heavy vote into action on London weighting

10 May 2003
IN ONE of the most extraordinary trade union ballots in history, London postal workers have voted by 19,803 to 91 votes for action over pay. This could lead to unofficial action that would stop the post across London. The ballot was a 99.5 percent vote to take on Post Office bosses. It was called unofficially because national CWU union leaders refused to sanction it.


19 April 2003
A STRIKE planned by thousands of BT engineers was called off last week after the employers won a high court injunction. Bosses claimed that the workers' CWU union had failed to give the necessary notice required under the anti-union laws.

Thousands of BT workers to strike

12 April 2003
UP TO 14,000 BT workers are set to strike for 24 hours on Monday. The action is the first in a series of stoppages called by the workers' CWU union in a fight to stop a divisive new pay and bonus scheme. Those involved in the action are engineers and control staff doing work for BT's residential customers.

A chance for all to gain over pay

05 April 2003
LONDON POSTAL workers have this week started an unofficial ballot for action to win an improved London weighting. The decision, which was provoked by the failure of the CWU union's pay campaign to deliver results, has caused fierce argument inside the union. Even branches and individuals who would normally back militant action have criticised London for "trying to take money from the rest of the country".

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